Module Overview

Professional Studies and Intercultural Health Communication for Eye Care Professionals

This module is designed to prepare students for the legal, professional, intercultural and communication challenges facing the practising eye care professional (ECP).


It consists of two sections: Section 1 comprises legal, ethical and professional studies; Section 2 comprises intercultural health communication. The learning of guidelines for best practice in communication and cross-cultural situations will contribute to the development of culturally competent health care professionals, essential for the provision and promotion of primary healthcare as outlined in the Health Service Executive (HSE) Second National Intercultural Health Strategy 2018-2023

Through the delivery of separate practical sessions for the BSc in Optometry and the BSc in Ophthalmic Dispensing, this module will put greater emphasis on:

  • Dispensing communication considerations and customer care for dispensing opticians.
  • Communication during the eye examination and patient management for optometrists.

This module is a year-long module and will be co-taught:

  • in the second year of the ophthalmic dispensing programme,
  • in the third year of the optometry programme.
Module Code

OPTO 3000

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Section 1

  • Laws and rules relating specifically to optometrists and dispensing opticians
  • Laws relating to professionals generally: children, advertising, data protection.
  • Ethical and professional issues: codes of ethics and conduct.
  • CORU Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Dispensing Opticians and Optometrists.
  • Eyecare delivery in Ireland.
  • Optometric professional and regulatory organizations in Ireland and abroad.
  • Eye care delivery in Europe and elsewhere.

Section 2

This module in Intercultural Health Communication aims to make the future ECP able to assess how their communication approach and cultural prejudices may influence the different practitioner / patient relationships that they are likely to encounter in the daily practice of their profession. In this context, the necessary verbal, paraverbal and non-verbal communication skills will be analysed and practised as an essential component of modern clinical skills and patient management. This will be complemented by the acquisition of cross-cultural strategies designed to help manage cross-cultural miscommunication.

  • Different communication patterns and different types of questions and statements in order to structure communication for the different phases of the practitioner-patient encounters (e.g. case history/main reason for visit, transition between case-history and eye tests, eye tests, presentation of findings / management plan).
  • Communication strategies to deal with difficult encounters (listening skills, low vs high levels of empathy, dealing with objections and bad news, principles of conflict management).
  • Factors influencing compliance positively or negatively and use of Health Belief Model
  • Personality and communication styles.
  • Different types of challenging patients, including deaf and visually impaired (sighted guide technique).
  • Therapeutic relationships applied to eye care (e.g. Szasz and Hollander model, Stewart and Roter’s spectrum of high and low control, Mead and Bower’s conceptual framework of patient-centred care, shared-decision making and use of patient-decision aids).
  • Communication with paediatric patients and their guardian(s).
  • Introduction to selling techniques.
  • Intercultural dimensions and orientations and how they may lead to cultural misunderstanding (incl. conflictual situations and discriminatory attitudes) with illustrations in the healthcare context (e.g. Hall, Hoffstede, Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner).
  • Models for Promoting Culturally Competent Patient-Provider Communication (e.g. Kleinmann, LEARN, ETHNIC, …).
  • Cross-cultural strategies (stumbling blocks to cross-cultural competence, ethnocentricity vs. ethnorelativity, cultural mediators, use of HSE intercultural communication guidelines) Characteristics of trained vs untrained translators and acceptable vs unacceptable strategies when dealing with translators / interpreters (including children and sign-language).
  • Tips for communicating with LEP (Limited English Proficiency) patients  and other service users.



Section 1

  • Lectures and tutorials
  • Self study

Section 2

  • Lectures
  • Practical tutorials and role-play scenarios
  • Computer-based learning
  • Analysis of videos illustrating bad vs good intercultural health communication practice
  • Guided independent learning and self-directed learning

Section 1: 12 hours (1 hour/week in semester 1, taught by an optometrist.)

Section 2: 36 hours (1 hour / week lecture x 24 in semesters 1 and 2 + 1 hour practical x 12)


Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination18
Other Assessment(s)82